|Weymouth Sailing Centre
Old Castle Road
[click for larger picture]
The Dart 15 National Championships were held at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy on 28-30 July. The entry of 34 was down on last years attendance, mostly because there was an inadvertent clash with the Cowes Dinghy Week, taking out the entire Gurnard fleet, which is the largest active fleet in the Country. On the first day the race officer, Dr. Frank Newton (Sorebones), set a trapezoidal course in Portland Harbour. Steve Sawford led the fleet round the practice lap but only 3 of the 19 competitors who went out finished properly - the rest failed to discover that the finish line was set to the side of the course. Dr. Frank pointed out these errors and others at the briefing which followed.
The proceedings kicked off with race 1 which was sailed in a steady force 3-4 westerly breeze after lunch. Stuart Snell sailed straight off into an early lead from Jerry Hampshire, Paul Smith and Bob Carter and as the race developed Snell continued to stretch his lead with Smith taking over the chase from Hampshire. By the finish Snell and Smith were clear ahead but the 3rd place was anybody from the chasing pack on the last reach to the finish. Steve Hanby and George Carter just got by pushing Hampshire down to 5th with Roger Hodkison just astern. Race 2 followed immediately and the wind had freshened slightly. First to the windward mark was G Carter, followed by R Carter, Nick Dewhirst and Chris Black. The reaches were exhilarating and by now the competitors had realized that there was no benefit in trying to sail near the wind shadow of 2 large banana boats which were moored in the centre of the trapezoid. Once again the two leaders stretched their lead throughout the race but 3- 8 places were in contention and places were changing hands throughout. At the finish G Carter was the winner by 500 metres from R Carter who was also well ahead of the rest. Hanby took 3rd from Dewhirst on the last reach and Smith was 5th.
Day 2 turned out much better than forecast, with sun and a westerly wind which increased from 11 knots to 19 knots through the day. By popular request the "Sorebones" team set an inverted "P" course in Portland Harbour for all 3 races. Race 3 was won by Snell from Smith, R Carter, G Carter and Sawford. Simon Farthing recorded a 10th place despite sailing with 4 stitches in his hand from an accident with a broken shroud the day before. After lunch, the wind had increased and defending champion, G Carter, got back into his stride winning race 4 from Hanby, Snell, Sawford and past champion, Roger Hodgkison, who was beginning to fly towards the end. Eamonn Browne had an unfortunate capsize just upwind of the moored banana boats. Race 5 was sailed back to back with Race 4 and the course had been adjusted leaving the banana boats bisecting the second reach causing interesting tactical options. G Carter led from start to finish but Hanby closed to within 1 second at the finish. Snell was third and Hodgkison forth.
The Championship dinner followed, courtesy of secretary (and chef for the night) Sandra Gollub and the W&PSA staff. Event sponsor, The Laser Centre, had kindly laid on a happy hour (or 3) at the bar which was appreciated by all.
The event was perfectly poised for the final day with both G Carter & Snell on 7 points and 5 competitors who were fighting for third. The wind remained westerly and Snell was first to the windward mark on a square course from G Carter, Chris Black and the chasing pack. G Carter took the lead on the downwind leg and where he remained to the gun. Snell kept his hopes alive with a second and Sawford was third. The wind filled a little for the last race and Steve Petts (sailing his brand new boat) was first to the windward mark followed by Mark Saunders and Peter Richardson. On the second beat Petts retained the lead from Richardson and Hodgkison but Saunders took the wrong side and dropped back. This order prevailed for the subsequent lap so Petts, rejuvenated by his new boat, won his first championship race after seven year of trying.
Thus races were won by George Carter (4), Stuart Snell (2), Steve Petts (1). Second places went to Paul Smith (2), Stuart Snell (2), Bob Carter (1), Steve Hanby (1) and Peter Richardson (1). In the final analysis G Carter won with 8 points from Snell (9) and Hanby (18). The winning lady was Cathrin Farthing, who narrowly defeated Sandy Taylor. The two up trophy went to Nick and James Taylor. Overall it was a superb championships with wonderful sailing weather at an ideal location. The race management and organisation was faultless - thanks to the efforts put in by the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy.
|5th||R. Hodgkison||Herne Bay||21pts|
|1st||N. & J. Taylor||Carsington|
|2nd||R. & T. Gall||Carsington|
|3rd||K. & M. Bartlett||Open Dinghy Club|
|3rd||R. Hodgkison||Herne Bay|
|2nd||A. Blake||Herne Bay|
Pro-Am Winners: E Holmberg + P Richardson
|Sail No||Helm||Crew||Series Points||Series Place||Race 1||Race 2||Race 3||Race 4||Race 5||Race 6||Race 7|
Results Computed by J.Norman Taylor
Sun 30 Jul 00